Creation of uniform committee gives students voice in uniform policy decisions


Photo credit: Chloe Richards

Students from grades nine through 12 meet to discuss the Archer uniform. Organized by Dean of Students Jenn Babin, the first uniform committee meeting of the 2018-2019 school year was on Dec. 3.

Last school year, the Archer administration decided to create a uniform committee to allow students, faculty and administration opportunities to discuss opinions about the uniform. The creation led to several uniform changes, including a change to the sweatshirt policy.

“[The uniform committee was created] to get feedback from the student perspective, from the faculty perspective [and] from the administrative perspective about the uniform, what the purpose of the uniform is, is our current uniform meeting the purposes, et cetera,” Dean of Students Jenn Babin said.

The decision to form the committee was announced by Babin at an assembly last year. Any student in grades eight through 12 could join to share concerns about the current uniform guidelines. The class deans are also able to attend uniform committee meetings. 

Babin said she felt that the deans spent a lot of their time discussing uniform violations, time that they would rather spend talking about “more important and more interesting things.” To solve that and compromise with students, the administration created the uniform committee in order to involve students in decision-making. 

“If there were particular uniform guidelines that were frequently violated, part of the question is why. Why are students wearing sweatpants under their skirt?” Babin said.  “Let’s ask the student.” 

The uniform committee met a few times throughout last year in the HD room with Babin. At one of the uniform committee meetings, a student suggested a change to the new sweatshirt policy.

“We expressed our concern and where we were coming from…We all wanted Archer students to be able to wear any club jacket or musical or sports team jacket any day of the week,” sophomore committee member Eva Dembo said.

Babin heard this suggestion and later discussed it with all of the grade deans, as well as Upper School Director Gretchen Warner and Middle School Director Karen Pavliscak. Ultimately, they came to the decision that any green or gray club sweatshirt with the school logo on the front could be worn any day of the week.

“I think it’s fantastic for students to be able to celebrate the clubs and activities they do on campus and so I think it was hopefully a good change,” Babin said. 

Other clothing-related concerns discussed in uniform committee meetings were the limited cold weather and pant options. Many thought there were a variety of skirt options but not as many pant options available, which Babin said she is also working to change. 

“I hope that the students felt heard,” Babin said, “and see that we want to work with them in terms of making sure that everyone is happy and warm and comfortable and all of that, [while] also maintaining the integrity of our uniform.”